Blue Jays blow another late lead

The Canadian Press
Gregory Strong

TORONTO–Blue Jays’ reliever Tyler Clippard appeared immersed in thought as he sat by his locker last night after blowing a save opportunity in a 5-4 loss to the L.A. Angels.
Clippard stared straight ahead for about 10 minutes, his index finger slowly stroking his chin from time to time.
It was an outing he’d like to put behind him as soon as possible.
Clippard (4-2) entered the ninth inning with a 3-1 lead but gave up four earned runs as the Angels came back for the win.
The reliever walked the bases loaded before a two-run single by Shohei Ohtani tied the game. A two-run single by Andrelton Simmons then put the Angels ahead to stay.
“These are tough days and tough losses to swallow,” said Clippard.
“Like I said, you’ve just got to move on.”
Justin Anderson (1-1) pitched the eighth inning for the win while Blake Parker survived a shaky ninth for his third save.
Toronto halved the deficit in the ninth when pinch-hitter Kendrys Morales drove in Dwight Smith Jr. to make it a one-run game as Curtis Granderson moved to third.
Teoscar Hernandez hit a fly to right field but Kole Calhoun threw Granderson out at the plate for the second out.
“He put it right on the money,” said Angels’ manager Mike Scioscia. “That’s a rocket.
“That’s not shallow right field, that’s medium right field,” he noted.
“There’s not many right-fielders who are going to be able to stop a guy like Granderson but he put it right on the money.”
Morales moved to second on the play and Josh Donaldson was walked intentionally to get to Justin Smoak, who struck out to end it.
Devon Travis and Yangervis Solarte hit solo homers for the Jays (23-26), who got five shutout innings from starter Aaron Sanchez.
Four relievers held the Angels (27-22) to a run to set things up for Clippard, who issued walks to Mike Trout, Justin Upton, and Albert Pujols before Ohtani stroked a single to the sound of groans from the crowd of 25,504 at Rogers Centre.
“He knows, he’s been there, he’s done that,” Sanchez said of Clippard. “You just get behind him and back him up.
“That’s all you can really do.
“It’s a tough night. It’s one of those days,” he added.
Toronto now has dropped five of its last six games.
“I was just not executing when I needed to,” Clippard conceded. “I got into some 3-2 counts, I felt like I needed to be a little more aggressive in the zone.
“They fought off some tough pitches, took some tough pitches,” he noted.
“But just ultimately I didn’t make the pitches when I needed to.”
The teams played the rubber game of the three-game series this afternoon.
Travis, a recent call-up from ‘AAA’ Buffalo, homered on a 2-0 pitch from Angels’ starter Tyler Skaggs in the third inning for Toronto’s first hit of the game.
It was his second homer of the year.
The Angels threatened in the fourth but couldn’t push a run across.
Centre-fielder Kevin Pillar denied Simmons an extra-base hit with a nice jumping catch against the wall. Ohtani, aboard after a walk, had rounded second and was forced to scramble back to first base.
The Angels loaded the bases in the inning after shortstop Gio Urshela booted a Martin Maldonado grounder. But Calhoun followed with a rainbow drive that died near the warning track for the third out.
In the bottom half, Solarte turned on a 1-2 pitch for his 11th homer of the season.
Sanchez entered play with 29 walks–the third-highest total among AL pitchers this season. He issued five free passes on the night but escaped damage, holding the Angels without a run on two hits.
Solarte added an RBI single in the fifth inning. His slow roller up the middle scored Donaldson from second base.
Jays’ reliever John Axford came on in the sixth and lasted only three batters. He gave up three singles–the final one a flare inside the left-field foul line by Maldonado that scored Simmons.
Seunghwan Oh held the Angels to one hit for the rest of the frame.
Elsewhere in the AL, Detroit beat Minnesota 4-1, Texas topped New York 12-10, Boston downed Tampa Bay 4-1, Chicago dumped Baltimore 11-1, and Seattle blanked Oakland 1-0.
Over in the NL, Milwaukee dumped Arizona 9-2, San Diego beat Washington 3-1, Philadelphia downed Atlanta 4-0, Miami edged New York 2-1, Pittsburgh topped Cincinnati 5-4 (12 innings), and L.A. blanked Colorado 3-0.
Kansas City beat St. Louis 5-2 (10 innings), Houston downed San Francisco 4-1, and Cleveland shaded the Chicago Cubs 1-0 in interleague play.